Australia

McKenzie to crack the whip

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 09:23
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I will make it quite clear about what I think is important to be a Wallaby
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New Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie made it clear that he will not tolerate ill-discipline as he laid out the responsibilities he expects his players to fulfil on and off the pitch.

His hardline comments follow off-field behaviour by some of Australia's elite players which has overshadowed and undermined their sporting achievements.

Several Wallabies, including Digby Ioane, Kurtley Beale and the brash James O'Connor have all found themselves making headlines for the wrong reasons.

"I will make it quite clear about what I think is important to be a Wallaby and what that means, and the sacrifices you need to make," McKenzie said.

"And in due course whatever players are lucky enough to get the opportunity to step up, they'll understand what I think and what's important."

This included "wearing the right clothes and doing the right thing at the right time and turning up on time", he added.

"It won't be too complicated but they need to understand the opportunity to play for the Wallabies is a purely representative one," McKenzie said.

Beale has been the most high-profile Wallaby to find himself in trouble off the pitch.

He recently completed a two-week stint in rehabilitation for alcohol-related issues after being suspended for striking Melbourne Rebels teammates Gareth Delve and Cooper Vuna on March 23.

Then he and O'Connor were photographed out at 4am midweek ahead of the second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne.

To compound matters, reports said the two were also spotted at a nightclub at 5.30am after the final Lions clash last Saturday, having missed the team bus for training the previous week.

O'Connor was suspended and fined in 2011 for missing Australia's World Cup squad announcement after drinking all night.

Without naming names, McKenzie said: "The only opportunity you get to play for the Wallabies is if the Wallabies coach chooses you to play, and to me that's a week-to-week contract.

"If you're not doing the right thing at the right time, that week-to-week contract might not be there."

AFP

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